You can officially consider Houston Nutt‘s hat tossed into the Hilltop ring.
Very shortly after June Jones abruptly stepped down as SMU’s head coach, lists of potential replacements not-so-unexpectedly surfaced. The usual suspects given the type of job SMU is littered the lists, including a pair of young offensive coordinators with Texas ties — Clemson’s Chad Morris and Texas A&M’s Jake Spavital. The former is reportedly “very interested” in the vacancy.
Another name? Houston Nutt, who readily acknowledged that he would most certainly be interested in the Mustangs gig if the opportunity afforded itself.
The thing is, the 56-year-old Nutt — he’ll turn 57 in mid-October — is in the midst of his third season being removed from the sidelines. He does, though, possess more head-coaching experience than anyone who’ll likely be up for the job.
Nutt’s been a head coach at four different schools: Murray State (1993-96); Boise State (1997); Arkansas (1998-2007); and Ole Miss (2008-11). For whatever reason, Nutt has been toxic since he “resigned” from the Rebels in the midst of a 2-10 season (he was allowed to finish out the year), although the fact that he resigned as UA’s head coach amidst controversy and rumors only to take the same job at Ole Miss less than 24 hours later could have some athletic directors keeping their distance.
His name has been attached to a couple of openings the past two years, namely UConn and USF, but Nutt has spent most of his time in the television game.
He would, though, bring some significant recruiting chops to the moribund program. Not only is the Arkansas native very familiar with high school football in the state of Texas, he’s well-versed in the recruiting ways in the talent-rich SEC footprint.
SMU went the retread route with June Jones and that didn’t exactly work out, so it’s hard to see them going that way twice in a row. They could, though, do a lot worse on the field than Nutt. Off the field? Yeah, there’s that.
This is certainly a surprising, if not extremely significant development.
Given his talent level and the position he plays, it’s been long thought that Bryce Love would be leaving Stanford early and declaring for the April draft. Instead, Love’s father confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle in a text early Tuesday morning that his son will be returning to the Cardinal for his senior season.
The Chronicle wrote that “[t]he junior tailback didn’t make his decision until the last possible minute Monday night, the deadline for entering the NFL draft.”
Despite battling through an ankle injury that lingered throughout the latter portion of the 2017 season, Love was second in the country in rushing with 2,118 yards and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 19. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.
With this decision, Love will very likely enter the 2018 season as the favorite to claim this year’s Heisman.
It wouldn’t take long to call the roll of head coaches who could get away with hiring Hugh Freeze at the moment, and Nick Saban is certainly at or near the top of that list. Based on word coming out of Tuscaloosa, a Saban-Freeze marriage could very well be on the horizon to test that theory.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, the disgraced former Ole Miss head coach was a visitor at Alabama’s football building on Monday. While the News didn’t detail the nature of the visit, FootballScoop.com writes that “Freeze was in the building today at Alabama to discuss the open offensive coordinator job.” Another national writer, however, downplayed the possibility of Freeze joining Saban’s staff.
Per the News, Saban has always held a healthy respect for Freeze given how much success, relatively speaking, the Rebels’ offense had going up against the Crimson Tide’s defense.
Saban is searching for a fourth offensive coordinator in less than 14 months after Brian Daboll left the team Sunday after one season to take the same job with the Buffalo Bills. Given Freeze’s credentials, he’d certainly warrant serious consideration to fill the opening; based on his exit from Oxford, he could be a tough sell in a lot of places.
Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a team-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach.
It was reported earlier this month that Les Miles was involved in Arizona’s search for a head coach and had an interest in bringing Freeze along as his coordinator if he landed the job. Not long after, after criticism came pouring in over the potential move, the earlier reports were walked back because of the stigma that still follows Freeze.
It appears Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will continue his collegiate playing career a little bit further west than where it began.
On the same day that Kevin Sumlin was hired as the head coach at Arizona, Nate Clouse of Rivals.com reported that Johnson will be enrolling at UA this week and play for the Wildcats. The son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Sumlin in 2018.
In late June of last year, Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Not long after, the wide receiver decided to take a leave of absence, with his famous father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and would not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.
At the time, the plan was for the junior Johnson to return to Lincoln and play his college football for Mike Riley. With his father’s college offensive coordinator dismissed at the end of the regular season, Johnson took to Twitter in mid-December to announce that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cornhuskers.
Johnson was a four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, but never played a down for NU. Before signing with Nebraska, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and USC.
Roster attrition across college football continues unabated, with Minnesota the latest to lose one its football players.
Zo Craighton revealed on his Twitter account Monday that, “[a]fter prayers and considerations,” he has decided to transfer out of P.J. Fleck‘s football program. “There will always be a place in my heart for Minnesota,” the redshirt sophomore cornerback wrote in his social media missive. “I made friends for life and I appreciate the fan base for all the support.”
Craighton played in 11 games the past two seasons, missing the final nine of the 2017 season because of injury. Coming out of high school in Louisiana, the defensive back was a three-star member of the Gophers’ 2015 recruiting class.